I wouldn’t want to give the impression that my trip to the Turks and Caicos was all work and no play… I did take the last day off, after I had delivered my book (Dead Like You) but I also had another reason for being there – the Assistant Commissioner of Police, the wonderful Neil (Nobby) Hall suggested it would make a great location for a Roy Grace novel – that he goes there on holiday, perhaps with Cleo, and then a brutal murder happens. The local police learn that the Brighton detective, who has far more homicide experience than they do, is on the island, and he then gets embroiled in solving the crime – and deeper and deeper into the murk below the beautiful turquoise ocean…..

So I had some terrific research experience with a whole different kind of policing. One of their main problems, lying geographically between Haiti and Forida, is the amount of trafficking of drugs and of illegal aliens (or “Irregular Migrants” as they now have to called, to be politically correct…) from Haiti to the USA. Unfortunately for the Turks and Caicos many stop off there, with their machete and gun culture, and are a prime source of the country’s crime.

Not many of us know the Turks and Caicos islands. They are one of the last remaining outposts of colonial Britain. Beautiful and broke, thanks to years of corruption by their local government, now ousted by the UK and currently under direct rule.

I spent time going around with Nobby ( the nickname comes from a naval tradition – anyone called “Clark” or “Hall” is automatically nicknamed “Nobby”.) and out on patrol with the Maritime Police looking for drug smugglers and people traffickers. We didn’t find any but we did rescue a lilo!!!!

World’s smartest police headquarters???

Nobby Hall outside the main police station

Spotting this fellow obeying the no loitering

Nobby in full formal Assistant Police Commissioner rig.

PJ and Nobby relaxing at the Trafalgar Night Ball, where we drank some pre-1970 naval rum. (Before 1970 a tot of rum (about a third of a large tumbler) was issued daily to all sailors at 11.30am. By midday most were drunk – the only way to cope with the tedium of life at sea in the old days…. but then the practice was stopped. Luckily Nobby came across a stash somewhere in Portsmouth – and put it do good use, filling my glass….)

Ooops, wrong guy, folks!!!